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Clemson Shocks Alabama in 85-77 Victory

On Tuesday Night, Alabama, the highest-scoring team in Division One, hosted a 5-0 Clemson Tigers looking to avenge last season’s robbery of an NCAA tournament.

Clemson jumped to an early 9-8 lead at the under-16 media. PJ Hall hit an early three, which Aaron Estrada countered under the basket, setting a fast-paced tone early.

Offense for the high-powered Crimson Tide resulted in 29% shooting from the field by the second media timeout — 1-10 three-point shooting early on also did not help ‘Bama’s initial offensive woes.

The Tigers shot 50% from the field by the 10-minute mark, but silly defensive mistakes slowed them down. RJ Godfrey was one such example — he was forced to sit after committing a silly foul despite excellent minutes.

Brad Brownell’s team also exploited Alabama’s paint defense by sealing the big man off for some easy scores under the basket — particularly from Ian Schefflein’s consecutive paint scores around the eight-minute mark.

Alabama knotted things at 25 at the 5:15 mark, an 8-0 run capitalized via Mark Sears’ three-bomb forced Brownell to call a timeout.

Going cold for three minutes on offense certainly didn’t help Clemson maintain their dominance, but at the under-four timeout, the Tigers were winning a key area: clearing the defensive boards 20-17.

Josh Beadle hit a runner before the buzzer to put Clemson up 33-32 at the break. PJ Hall paced with eight points, while Schefflein and Godfrey each had six. Sears and Estrada led Alabama with nine points each.

Sears hit a dozen points early in the second half, hitting two threes to start the period. Despite the mini run, Joseph Girard kept Clemson in striking distance with a steal and assist for a Godfrey slam to keep the deficit to only two.

Hacking and whacking plagued Clemson during the second half's early stages. The Tigers accumulated 15 team fouls following the first media timeout of the second half.

This allowed for Alabama to gain enormous momentum. The Crimson nailed three straight from range, another from Sears, who forced a Clemson timeout at 12:51.

Out of the timeout, Hall went on an individual 7-0 run of his own to tie things at 53 with around 11 minutes to play. After a stop, Godfrey came down on the offensive end and converted the and-one to give Clemson the lead. Girard continued the hot streak by nailing a three to help fuel a 16-2 run.

Estrada and Grant Nelson got the crowd back into the game with threes of their own, but a sloppy defensive possession led to a loose ball score for Clemson. The under-eight timeout saw Clemson up five with momentum going back and forth.

Hall picked up his fourth foul with under six minutes to play, which set the stage for Girard and Chase Hunter to nail a couple of huge three balls to push the lead to 10.

At one point, Clemson was shooting 52% from deep and 53% from the field, which propelled the Tigers to a nine-point lead with under two minutes to play.

Brad Brownell’s group collected a big resume win to improve to 6-0 — the first 6-0 start since 2009 for Clemson. Hall led the charge with 21 and eight boards despite battling foul trouble.

His supporting cast showed out: Chase Hunter scored 15, Girard had 16 on 4-7 three-point shooting, and Godfrey had 11 off the bench.

Alabama was led by Sears’ 23 points and a combined 30 points from Estrada and Grant Nelson.

Clemson proved tonight they are gunning for an NCAA tournament spot, and a win like this will help them meet those expectations.

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